Tuesday, 21 December 2010
The joys of international travel (Dedicated to the thousands of people still stuck at London’s Heathrow Airport after four days)
Well, let me tell you…. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Not that many if not most of the places aren’t great. The problem comes when it involves one or other of our British airports or our road system which clearly can’t cope given any change of circumstances.
Now the British are known for facing adversity with strength of character. But, whereas the bombing of World War II failed to deter us, the lamentable ability of our airports to cope with a few centimetres of snow is enough to break any spirit.
Personally, we have had two very different experiences in the last month. Late November and we were in Dubai when the first snow fell in England. The airports – specifically Gatwick this time – closed for days on end and, as we were flying back into Gatwick, we arrived for our connecting flight in Doha with some trepidation.
Qatar Airways, with whom we were flying, were nothing short of magnificent. Our Gatwick flight was cancelled but, unlike the thousands camping currently at Heathrow Airport at the mercy of other airlines, Qater immediately rebooked us on a flight six hours later to Heathrow (which was open), booked us into a five-star hotel, fed us, breakfasted us and transported us back to the terminal in time for our flight. Not only that, when we arrived at Heathrow, a bus was waiting to take us to Gatwick. And it’s not as if we were flying first class. Everybody, from coach to first was treated the same.
Forward two weeks and we went to Zagreb for meetings. Snow fell again on the day of our return. We managed to land at Luton Airport which was still open (Heathrow had closed by this time) but, despite only a couple of inches of snow, it still took us six and a half hours to drive 80 miles. Not a snow plough or gritter in sight… and these were on major roads.
We were lucky… we made it back. Had we been travelling into Heathrow, we would still be in Zagreb or would have been re-routed (as we have heard from others) to handy destinations such as Rekyavik or Majorca!
The next time anybody says international travel is glamorous, remember not to travel anywhere near the UK during winter and, if at all possible, fly Qatar Airways!
We wish you all a very Happy Holiday season and hope to see you in the New Year.
Monday, 15 November 2010
“Driving from Athens to Zagreb…how hard can it be?”
It will be a long time until Paul Berrington, CEO of leading Greek agency Black & White Licensing is allowed to forget this, following his intrepid journey through the Balkans to speak at the Licensing New Europe conference in Croatia.
Instead of taking the perhaps easier route of flying from Athens to Zagreb, he elected, complete with colleague Panos Iatridis, to drive. Armed with an Alfa Romeo 159 Touring, Google Maps on his phone and a road atlas of Yugoslavia (yes, a pre-1992 map), they set off at 3.45am on Wednesday 10th November.
The first few hours, we understand, were relatively painless. However, the decision to drive through Albania (he’d never been there before) was to prove an interesting one. Many of the roads were little more than dirt tracks, resulting in a flat tyre, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark. Albania turned into a tale of three rivers, made more difficult by torrential rains. The first was crossed after an hour of JCB work on it. The second had around of a foot of water and the third was washed away. By the time they retraced their steps, the first bridge was covered in water. Our intrepid travellers made it across this but, not without incident. By now, not only had a tyre been damaged, but the poor Alfa had damaged wheels.
Undeterred, by the loss of the wheel trim and wheel in Northern Albania, our travellers continued, travelling partly through Bosnia before they were back in Albania.
At this point, the organisers of LNE who were expecting them on the Wednesday evening, received a phone call. Fortunately, ever-helpful as they are, they were able to direct our travellers towards a route that would prove less traumatic.
Finally, they reached the Montenego border and, from that moment, were able to make great progress (tyres and wheels notwithstanding), before reaching Zagreb, to much applause, on Thursday afternoon.
Of course, now came the problem of the car which was definitely not as Alfa Romeo had intended. Again with the help of Creata, the LNE organisers, the car was taken to an Alfa garage. But the story didn’t end there. On the way to the garage, as a result of the pounding it had received through Bosnia and Albania, two tyres burst and the sorry Alfa arrived at the garage on a pick-up truck.
The return journey, it has to be said, was far less eventful. Whilst they were stopped by the police in Serbia, everything else worked fine and the duo reached Athens in the early hours of Sunday morning. In all, they travelled 3,500km, crossed eight borders, had three flat tyres, two broken wheels and were stopped by the police twice.
It just shows how intrepid the licensing industry can really be. But a word of advice….. next time, please take the plane!!
Friday, 5 November 2010
It was recently confirmed that the Croatian president Ivo Josipović has given the show his official backing.
Not sure if David Cameron will be doing the same for Brand Licensing, although it is an important point to make that sometimes, people outside of the licensing industry are not aware of what a revenue-driver licensing is.
Total Licensing will simultaneously be traveling to Taiwan next week, to visit the Taiwan International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo, which will be a fascinating look at the country and it's culture. For a country so renowned for manufacturing, it will be very interesting to see the country's take on licensing.
Then, comes the Winter issue. Check our website for detailed info on the features and other things coming up.
Friday, 1 October 2010
Much anticipated were the views from Andrew Davenport, and also the London 2012 commercial team.
Many listeners to his speech were curious as to what Davenport would say regarding the rumours of In The Night Garden’s demise, however he stated that the brand is being taken to new areas, and hinted that music would be key.
He also gave solid advice, including that children’s programmes are often most successful when adults don’t understand the appeal; and that a commercial programme must be tailored to be relevant. He spoke about his young exposure to licensing, and how this helped him to connect with an audience that is still learning.
The LOCOG was the focus of The Big Interview, and featured featured three key members of the London 2012 team: Charlie Wijeratna, director of commercial negotiations, Simon Lilley, head of licensing and retail and Warren Traeger, licensing manager, toys, games and souvenirs. It was hosted by Kevin Roberts, the editorial director of SportBusiness Group, and was followed by a Q&A session from the floor. More than £650m of domestic sponsorship revenue has already been raised nearly two years before the event. Licensing royalty revenues are anticipated to generate approximately £80m, with over 50 licensees who will produce around 10,000 products for the Games. There will be a range of London 2012 shops opening, and retail sales are expected to be in excess of £1 billion.
There was a huge amount of news and deals generated at the show, and below is a round-up of some of these.
Nickelodeon UK launched a wide campaign for Dora the Explorer’s 10th anniversary. To encourage the UK to be more adventurous Dora’s Beyond the Backpack Foundation has been set up from which British public of all ages can apply for adventure funding. The campaign is fronted by Jade Jagger.
Nickelodeon Consumer Products announced the appointment Trudi Hayward as its new vice president for UK & Australia regions, to take over from Clare Piggot.
Chorion unveiled the newest addition of the Little Miss family, Little Miss Princess, at Brand Licensing Europe.
Classic Media and Tiger Aspect announced new industry-wide scheme to aid children in Africa. Both Classic Media and Tiger Aspect Productions will contribute a portion of their net profits to the fund, known as the Tinga Tinga Tales Fund.
Classic Media also announced that it has secured a multi-territory broadcast deal with Nickelodeon for its tween series Life with Boys.
As part of Rocket Licensing deal with Dreamworks to represent the UK theatrical release of Puss in Boots in 3D, Olympian fencer Alex O'Connell challenged members of the licensing industry to two minute fencing bouts. Rocket are well known for their challenges at BLE, with previous events including Conker fights and Scalextric races.
Chapman Entertainment announced a new partnership with MV Sports & Leisure for its two new properties launching on CBeebies, Little Charley Bear and Raa Raa The Noisy Lion.
Big and Small, the Kindle Entertainment pre-school TV property on CBeebies, revealed details of Big and Small’s Big Tour 2010, the first tour across the UK, taking in five locations this October half-term to meet fans.
Hidden City Entertainment, the rights holder for Bella Sara, announced a deal secured with Handcraft Manufacturing Corporation to design and produce Bella Sara-themed packaged and hanging underwear for girls. Hidden City also announced partnerships with NTD Apparel and Edizioni Play Press S.r.l.
Saban Brands has appointed international agents for the Power Rangers, who were in full force at the show, greeting guests and showing how Saban is planning to bring them back in a big way. The property is set for a worldwide brand re-launch in 2011.
The agents are Copyright Promotions Licensing Group for Western Europe, Kidz Entertainment for Scandinavia/Eastern Europe, Haven Licensing for Australia/New Zealand, Segal Licensing for Canada, Character Licensing & Marketing for South Africa, Exim Licensing for Latin America (excluding Mexico) and The Rutherford James Group for the Middle East.
Zodiak Rights, the new international rights business combining RDF Rights and Zodiak Entertainment Distribution, appointed a licensing agent for Mr Bean in India. Kids Media India Pvt Ltd has been appointed to represent Mr Bean in India across all merchandise categories excluding DVD and publishing. Zodiak Rights also launched Qpiz, a worldwide multi-platform brand aimed at teen girls. The property is being developed into a series of animated shorts, an online world, a video game and publishing. Zodiak also announced the expansion of its licensing team with the appointment of two new positions. Emily French Ullah takes up the role as UK Licensing Manager, reporting into Jane Kennedy, Senior Licensing Manager while Gaby Dior has been appointed International Licensing Manager and will report into Angeles Blanco - Head of International Licensing.
ITV Studios secured a number of new partners for primetime drama Coronation Street, with product rollouts to coincide with the series' 50th anniversary. A 50th anniversary event was held at the show, and the new licensees include The Royal Mint, John Wood Nurseries, DMC Creative World, Kinnerton and Iron Gut Publishing.
HarperCollins Publishers announced new merchandising deals with Woodmansterne Publications Ltd and Bluebird Brands, resulting in an extensive new range of Collins Gem-branded greetings cards, stationery,bags, umbrellas and mugs, due to hit the retail market during Autumn/Winter 2010.
Other new merchandising deals just announced include McLaggan Smith Mugs, Green Board Games and Arnold Wills.
Animaru won the License This! The Next Big Thing challenge at the show, winning a fully-furnished stand at Brand Licensing Europe 2011.
FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) announced a raft of new licensing deals for Rebecca Bonbon.
Italian licensee Sicem International will be developing 200 SKUs of ladies’ and girls’ fashion apparel including t-shirts, sweatshirts, fleeces, trousers and jackets. The apparel will initially launch at Oviesse retailers in January 2011. JF Ramos, FME’s first local licensee for Rebecca Bonbon in Portugal, will be producing a range of girls’ apparel covering everything from sweaters to nightwear, as well as distributing stationery including folders, notebooks and pencil cases. The products are set to launch in February 2011 across multiple retailers in Portugal.
Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products announced new product partnerships for The Simpsons.
Among the number of licensing deals, high street retailer New Look will retail boys t-shirts made by Blues Clothing, while Primark will stock children’s underwear supplied by Somerbond. Retailer Next will continue the Ladies of Springfield nightwear range, supplied by Aykroyds, and will extend the selection to include footwear from Brand International.
Halsall Toys International, meanwhile, will launch a range of pocket money toys for 2011, and new partner Robert Frederick will be bringing branded storage boxes and adult stationery to market.
Licensee DNC will extend its Back To School offering beyond lunchboxes, in a new partnership with Fox and a new stationery partner.
Lavish Rights completed its ’100-day plan’ at the show and announced that Luv Me Buddies was met with success, with several deals in place.The Licensing Company announced a deal with Chrysler Group, picking up the rights as worldwide licensing agency for the Chrysler and Jeep brands.
Toei Animation hosted an award night honouring European licensing brokers in the categories of “Best Licensing Award,” “Best Promotion,” and Managing Director of Toei Animation Europe SAS. The winners were: Best Licensing Program -- Backstage for Sailor moon; Best Promotion - TF1 Licences for Dragon Ball; and Best Involvement - Plus Licens for Dragon Ball and One Piece.
Bang on the Door announced that it has now signed its 100th contract for its properties, and that Trusty will be seeing a lot more exposure in places such as SpecSaver.
Character World scooped an award at EN Magazine North West Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The company was named Most Entrepreneurial Company of the Year 2010.
Bamforth, with its archives of thousands and thousands of retro images, particularly the famous seaside-saucy images, was at the show for the first time, looking for partners.
Hakan Canta made its debut at the show, with its back-to-school licenses for Marvel and other companies on show and some interesting insights into the cultural differences between back-packs in different countries!
What were your views on the show? Did you sign any deals? Do you think having the third day was a good idea?
Let us know at email@example.com
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Yes, Wayne Rooney looks set to lose a few sponsorship deals after some sordid details were published in the UK Sunday papers this week.
Why do they do it? Has Tiger Woods' fall from grace in such a spectacular manner taught them nothing?
Thus, the nature of celebrity branding. Rooney and his wife Coleen, dubbed the new 'Posh and Becks', have become a power-brand in terms of licensing deals, but of course this image is built on Rooney being the all-round family man. Naturally, most of us in the business take this with a pinch of salt, as no-one is perfect, and a brand is an image rather than a personality - but still, when nearly every celebrity worth their salt is now a brand, with huge amounts of merchandise, a lot of revenue comes from this. Of course, it's not just footballers, but, being the tabloid fodder that they are, and building up huge programmes around them as brands, the harder they seem to fall.
This all being said, of course, there are some celebrities who have made a turnaround from a scandal and even seen the said scandal boost their popularity. Paris Hilton, fresh from another white powder scandal, is still a huge brand, and became perhaps even more so after her stint in a Los Angeles jail. Kate Moss saw deals dropped and then new ones formed after her own 'fall from grace'. Jordan, aka Katie Price, Kerry Katona, and Britney Spears all lurch from, if the media outlets will be believed, one disaster and drama to the next, but their brands are still strong. The Kardashians are the latest family on everyone's lips, alongside the Gosselins - and even the Palins, with their teenage-pregnancy-parents-split-then-make-up-then-split-then-he-sells-his-story-and-pictures-of-himself-barely-clothed-to-Playgirl story was huge news, and has seen Bristol and Levi talking about several possible deals. The fact that teenaged Miley Cyrus is linked to a few scandals doesn't seem to hinder her image with fans - quite the opposite in fact. Footballer Ashley Cole's philandering ways have helped to turn his now ex-wife Cheryl Tweedy into a super brand, as public sympathy goes a long way. George Michael bounces back, often, from drink-driving and other charges, and of course, Michael Jackson's fame saw no bounds after court cases brought against him by minors detailed every inch of his personal life.
Of course, there are many salubrious celebrities who have become brands out there without their personal lives being splashed out across the News of the World, National Enquirer, or every other country's version of a tabloid - but who is everyone talking about, at the end of the day?
Thursday, 5 August 2010
The show, held in Seoul's impressive Coex Centre, featured two days exclusively for trade, followed by three days where the public are invited to visit. And visit, they did! By the thousand. According to demographic research, Korea has a declining birth rate. It has to be said that, witnessing the influx of small children into the show first hand, it is very difficult to believe!
Interestingly, whilst exhibits are geared to business on the opening days, by the third day many of the booths were transformed to include a wide variety of activities for small children. Some booths - such as AuroraWorld whose Yoohoo & Friends has been immensely popular and Iconix who continued to feature hit property Pororo, had long lines of children patiently waiting for their chance to go onto the stands.
The huge Pokemon stand was another extraordinary example. The majority of it was open to the public for the full five days and the queues were constant throughout the event. Rows of tables were continuously busy with children (and some adults) playing the trading cards and also the electronic Pokemon games.
One fascinating East meets West property was an animated character - Captain Park - based on Manchester United's Korean soccer player Park Ji-Sung who is also Captain of the South Korean national team. The booth attracted huge interest, particularly from small soccer-mad boys.
All told, the fair was fascinating. Properties that are immensely popular in Asia, but are virtually unknown in the West were very much in evidence and the market research provided by the tens of thousands of preschool children was invaluable.
Friday, 23 July 2010
Monday, 5 July 2010
Brand Licensing Preview
Sports Branding and Licensing
Preschool in the UK
Hong Kong Licensing Show Preview
unusual Uses of Licenses
China and Hong Kong
Bonus Distribution around the world:
Brand Licensing 2010
Licensing Market Germany
Italian Licensing Forum
Character Licensing Dubai
Licensing Factory Croatia
Hong Kong Licensing Show
Edit: 20th August 2010
Ad material: 7 September 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The tone was different to the year before, there was a positive feel and while several people noted that the halls still looked less than crowded, this seemed to mean to many that the time wasters hadn't shown up, instead, people looking to do real business were in the aisles.
This year, there were over 500 exhibitors and thousands and thousands of brands on show. The buzzwords of last year - 'economic crisis', 'downturn' and 'recession' were heard much less. Consumer spending is of course down, but this has meant that business has become savvier. Many of the films coming out over the next couple of years are part of franchises, as people are still sticking to what they know. There appeared also to be a trend towards sustainable products - not just on the green side of things, but products and brands that will stand the test of time, through education and integrity.
By now you will probably have read the news that emerged immediately from the show, and we will keep you up to date on further deals and trends.
Did you notice anything particularly strong at the show? Were they are trends or key products that really stood out for you? If so, we'd love to know. Email any thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Friday, 21 May 2010
Here at Total Licensing our feet have barely touched the ground. No sooner have we returned from the Surtex show in New York, put the finishing touches to our Summer issue, than we will be off again.
It's great, really. Volcanic ash or no volcanic ash, most of the licensing industry will converge in a couple of weeks and we very much look forward to seeing you there.
On a completely different note, you may note from our Summer issue that TL has an office puppy - Oliver, who is a black flat coated retriever, but does more bounding and chomping than retrieving. This will also give us an excuse to get out into the sunshine for lunchtime walks, of which there are many pretty ones near our East Sussex office.
And it's sunny - so sunny it almost feels like Summer, just in time for the latest issue of our mag, which has a Licensing Show preview alongside maps, exhibitor details, etc, territory updates on Latin America, Iberia and South Korea, and features on Automotive, Museum, and Celebrity Licensing. Now if that pesky ash cloud would only clear out of the sky permanently, it should give you something to read on the plane!
Friday, 30 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Don't forget as well, we are currently working on Total Art Licensing Summer issue, and the Summer issue of Total Licensing, which includes, among many other features, an in-depth Licensing Show preview, has an editorial deadline of 20 April.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Lego was a winner this year with Awards for best preschool product for their Lego Duplo Play with Numbers together with an Award for best game.
On the girls’ side, prehaps predictably, Zhu Zhu Pets New Generation from Hunter Products won the Award and the boys’ toy of the year went to Paper Jamz Guitar, again from Hunter. Paper Jamz, in fact, won overall Toy of the Year for 2010 which appeared to be a popular choice amongst the attending audience.
On the licensing side, the Australian Toy Association, organisers of the fair and the awards, have three specific licensing awards – boys, girls and preschool. Licensed boys toy of the year went to Lego for their Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle whilst Disney Fairies Super Studio picked up the girls’ award. The preschool award went to RC2’s Wooden Thomas set – which was also named overall Licensed Product of the Year.
Walking the aisles of the fair it became fairly clear that not only were dress-up costumes (particularly those for girls in pink and glitter) popular categories but remote controlled vehicles in all shapes and forms from basic small cars to the super-techno helicopters and gunboats – presumably aimed more at fathers than their small sons.
Wooden toys, too, have a strong presence at the fair as well as games – more so than electronics. And outdoor toys were in abundance, from bikes and trikes to garden trampolines and other activity products.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Total Licensing has just returned from New York Toy Fair, which was a busy and colourful show, with new trends emerging; as was the London version. Hong Kong and Nuremberg equally saw interesting trends, and the overall mood of the industry seems to be positive for the year ahead.
We're off to the Australian Toy Fair next, and it will be interesting to see what is new in the continent, but before that we are finalising our Spring issue, which includes the Total Licensing Australia magazine including Brand Spotlights and Property Profiles. The main magazine will include the aforementioned Toy Fair Reviews, territory spotlights in France, Italy, and Nordic, a MIP TV preview, Children's Publishing feature, among others, and will be distributed at Kazachok, Bologna Book Fair and MIP TV.
Click here to read the latest Total Licensing Australia.
Friday, 22 January 2010
Including features on the Middle East, South East Europe, Retro, Music Licensing, Toy Season, opinions from across the board in a Licensing Roundtable, news, features, and much much more.
Click here to view the Winter issue of Total Licensing
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
2010 has been labelled by the British Press as ‘the year of hope’, which has a nice ring to it.
For Total Licensing, January marks the start of a busy year. The Winter issue of Total Licensing is packed with important features such as a look at emerging markets in South East Europe and the Middle East, examining why retro properties are so popular, an industry roundtable with opinions from several heads of industry, 2010 birthdays, toys, music licensing, and much, much more.
We will be at the Hong Kong Licensing Show from 11 January, the Toy Fairs in London, New York and Nuremburg, Spring Fair in Birmingham, and generally adding to our extensive air miles collection! We will also this year be broadening our market further with several new partnerships around the world, so watch this space.